Italian Immigrants Holiday Traditions Essay

1421 words - 6 pages

Americans have become so accustomed to holiday traditions today that the meaning of how they arrived here has been lost. Immigrants of Italy brought to America their family-centered culture of celebrating these holidays. Their culture was so influencing that villages for the Italians were actually formed. The Italians celebrated numerous holidays in Italy; most celebrations included their fine foods and wine. Although, after the immigrants arrived in America they no longer observed many of the holidays that they did in Italy.

The Italians’ holiday culture helped to make America a more diverse nation. Their family-centered culture and regional affiliations resulted in highly concentrated ...view middle of the document...

The immigrants had the best chefs in the world prepare food for their festivities. Holidays and festivals were extremely important to the Italian people, but they were especially proud of their harvest season. Little Italy’s all over the world held parades and festivals in the fall months to celebrate the good harvest. This celebration was also for the upcoming wine and winter season. It was a time for the people to enjoy the fruits of their labors and feast to celebrate an end to the hard work season ("Italian_Immigration"). Another occasion celebrated with glorious food was St. Joseph’s Day on March nineteenth. The day was remembered by building a temporary three-tiered altar and flourishing it with food offerings for the saints. Breads, cannolis, seafood, and vegetable dishes all decorated the altar. Several other dishes included the food, mudriga, also known as St. Joseph’s sawdust. This tasteful food was made of only bread crumbs and sugar. No meat was ever found on the altar because the holiday almost always fell during Lent ("Countries and Their Cultures”) .

Moreover, the importance of food to the Italians on the holidays set them apart from other Americans. Their customs of feasts and parades are very valued to the immigrants heritage. They enjoyed feasting during celebrations or during summertime street festivals honoring patron saints. However, once the immigrants arrived in America they stopped observing certain holidays and attempted to follow American traditions. This task was a challenge considering they didn’t want to halt honoring their customs as well (Countries and Their Cultures").

Besides bringing their unique holiday food customs to America, Italian immigrants also brought over new holidays. Most Italian holidays now are no longer celebrated or receive only a passing notice. One of the major national holidays of Italy, Festa della Republica, on June fifth, is no longer an occasion of public celebration by the Italians. Festa della Republica commemorated the institutional referendum of 1946. The Italian population was gathered to decide what form of government the country should obtain once World War II ended. After eighty-five years of monarchy and with only a two million vote difference, Italy became a Republic. This holiday was one of the most important for the Italian immigrants. It is equal to America’s celebration of the Fourth of July. It is also celebrated similarly with music, dancing, and fireworks ("Countries and Their Cultures"). This was an important holiday for the Italian immigrants to celebrate while other religious holidays such as, Epifania di Gesù, on January sixth, wasn’t as significant. This holiday was based on the story of the three wise men who offered Jesus gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. It was an important part of the Christmas festivities in Italy. On this day, the immigrants celebrated a feast known as La Befana, which originated from a story of a woman who flew around on a broomstick...

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